Sunday, July 08, 2007

Round up the usual suspects

Too often I forget that the entertainment industry is genuinely beyond parody. Behold, Casablanca: The TV Series:

Another series, briefly broadcast on NBC in 1983, starred David Soul as Rick, Ray Liotta as Sacha and Scatman Crothers as a somewhat elderly Sam.

Casablanca popped into my head after playing The Darkness. Which is good, by the way - complete nonsense, wildly inconsistent, and not as good as previous Starbreeze effort Chronicles of Riddick, but it does engage you in the telling of a not uninteresting story. Although it would have done a lot better had it felt the need to actually comment on your sudden sprouting of demonic tentacles, rather than immediately relegating them to the status of slightly disfiguring scar - something that people occasionally comment on but don't see as particularly outlandish.

One of the many touches I did like, however, is the TVs in the game, which have been loaded up with royalty-free footage black-and-white footage: The Man With The Golden Arm, old episodes of Flash Gordon, some terrible rock band I suspect are related to the developers. It's a really small, pointless detail that has no bearing on the plot, but I really like it: it's far more convincing than the hoary aren't-we-funny nonsense in the background of Max Payne (which this reminded me of quite a lot, unfortunately) or Vice City, and it's such a cheap, obvious thing to do I'm surprised nobody else has done it before.

Anyway, Sinatra in black and white reminded me of Casablanca, which I want to watch but can't - I'm pretty sure I threw the VHS tape away when I moved and in any case the VCR is still at work, left over from a photoshoot recreating an awesomely primitive tableau of The Way We Were. Sad story. Richard, always well-stocked with really terrible cultural artifacts, pointed out that Barb Wire is a transparent remake but tragically I don't have that either. I'm reduced to reading the Wikipedia entry, which brings me back once again to little details that make me smile:

The version shown in the Republic of Ireland at the time of release had all references to adultery cut, rendering the plot incomprehensible.

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